To say that Vince McMahon is the biggest heel in the history of professional wrestling would be the understatement of the century. From the second he called for the bell at the Montreal Screwjob, he became the embodiment of everything wrestling fans hate: an overbearing blowhard who believes that his company’s product must be assembly line duplication of his vision, no matter how antiquated it may be.
He screwed over who once was seen as the ultimate company man in Bret Hart, attempted to snuff out the profane overness cruise missile that was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and, well, let his swinging grapefruits dictate the creative product no matter what the fans clamored for (kayfabe… usually).
He is the antithesis of everything the traditional wrestling fan loves. A demographic that is firmly lower-middle class, wrestling fans want the rebellious hero, someone who bucks the status quo, not someone who is a progression anchor, an impediment to the unplanned, unprecedented rising star.
…and his daughter is about to surpass him.
Just when you thought that Stephanie McMahon was going to take a break from being the WWE’s resident Grinch by collaborating with eternal fan favorite Mick Foley while running Monday Night Raw, she stuck a rhetorical dagger in the hardcore legend’s heart this past Monday night.
After Foley insinuated that McMahon was a figurehead in the result of the Clash of Champions main event, she reminded him that his job was to put business first rather than have his heart rule his mental roost (which would be the antithesis of Foley’s character, by the way). Foley, who has found his post-wrestling career revolving around being a voice for the people both behind a computer screen and on television, was silenced as McMahon made the great Foley appear smaller than TNA’s television ratings.
Do you know who was never able to do that, and had endless chances to do so? Vince McMahon.
As profound a creative statement this moment was, the Stephanie McMahon character has been compounding on her legacy as she approaches the possibility of surpassing her father as the all-time face of corruption in the annals of the WWE. What unique about this is that her grasp at this legacy can be solely blamed on Vince.
Vince was born into a regional territory that was owned by his father, Vince McMahon Sr. Rumors have always said that the elder Vince swore that when his son began running the company, he would not be a threat to the existence of the established territories, which ended up being a futile statement. However, Vince did have to strategize, a process that saw the dawning of both WrestleMania and the iconic character that became the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan, in order to transition Vince Sr.’s regional WWWF into the global enterprise that now is the WWE.
Vince was not the “Mr. McMahon” that fans grew to hate until the livelihood of said global enterprise was threatened by the departing Bret Hart, and later by the bird-flipping, beer-chugging anti-hero that was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. His underhanded “endeavors” (pun intended) were conjured as a response to paranoia stemmed from supposed threats to being kryptonite to his creation. One should really be able to respect that. The difference in motive is where Stephanie now presents herself as being a hemorrhaging tumor to Vince’s knee scrape of selfishness.
There was never a point in Stephanie’s life where she can recall having to scrape to become successful. Therefore, she was not attempting to maintain a company she helped cultivate; she was, and is, simply looking to maintain her free lunch.
This side of Stephanie first reared its repugnant head when she “unconsciously” became Mrs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley in Las Vegas, leading to dawning of the “McMahon-Helmsley Era”, showing that she was a egotistic, sophomoric anti-cherub unwilling to bide her time until her father was no longer able to run the business.
Stephanie played that role once again when she, along with Shane McMahon and Paul Heyman, attempted to put Vince out of business during the “Invasion” angle that involved former members of ECW and WCW. During this period of time, Stephanie made frequent mention of the demise of her father, acknowledging that she would be the rightful heir to his global wrestling empire.
Again, she simply could not wait until Vince’s grapefruits stopped pumping. She has to acquire power immediately.
Stephanie’s character simply never had to struggle for a thing in her professional life. Every dime that entered her wallet as a result of professional wrestling is based from the sweat from the brow (usually) of her father, a man whose evil ways really did stem from the fact that he single-handedly constructed a global empire.
Vince had a motive that one could respect, where Stephanie has never possessed such a motive. Rather, the threat of ever experiencing what it’s like to be a member of the “universe” her character earns money from drives her to do what is necessary to keep the money coming in. That is a level of corruption that was never an option for her father to attain, making her a heel far more evil than her father ever could be.